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Shin splints or tibial stress syndrome

What are shin splints?

Shin inflammation feels like a soreness or pain in front and along the large shin bone. Some patients feel symptoms on the shin or just below the knee while others feel it a little further down around the ankle. Othes still have shin splints along the full length of the shin bone.

You may be able to provoke pain by pressing where it already hurts and, in severe cases, pain may radiate down into the foot. The muscles involved in holding, lifting and supporting the shin are fixed onto the shin and the inside of the foot.

If you suffer from tibial inflammation associated with running, you will often feel pain/soreness at the beginning of your workout. Once your muscles become warm, the soreness will disappear – only to return a few hours later or the day after your running workout. Massage is often a really good way of relieving painful shin splints.

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How does shin splint develop?

A range of factors, including the condition of your knees, hip position, running style and the ground you walk or run on can cause shin splints. If you suffer from shin splints, it may be that your feet pull inappropriately on the knee and hip or that you have an incorrect position/movement in your foot – or both.

Shin splints may also be triggered by a more complex imbalance in your body. However, the most common causes of shin splints are in the foot. Many of us actually wear the wrong footwear. Wearing inappropriate footwear for just a couple of hours may not be a serious problem (although it may cause a few blisters).

How can I avoid shin splints?

You may address the inflammation by resting, relieving the acute symptoms and preventing the emergence of new discomfort. Mild and moderate cases are best treated with rest. If medication and rest have no effect, surgery may be necessary. It is important to make a thorough investigation into the cause of the problem. Are you flatfooted, do you pronate or supinate excessively or do you rotate the forefoot downwards? Is your foot incorrectly positioned? In all of these cases, insoles are a very good solution that can help you to bring the foot into place so that you do not pull on the wrong muscles around the shin bone.

You may also benefit from training under the guidance of a physiotherapist. The physiotherapist can provide help to correct or compensate for any deformities of the feet. A physiotherapist can also provide a programme of stretching exercises and give advice on alternative training methods. A running analysis can show whether the foot pronates or supinates. If either is the case, you should get insoles that provide good support for the foot, the inside of the foot arch or back towards the heel. This may correct inappropriate strain on the foot/calf and reduce pain.

Medication will probably only have limited effect. During short periods of acute and distinct discomfort, you can ask your doctor for prescription medication. You can also apply a gel product – these are available over the counter. If your own efforts and treatment with medication fail to deliver, surgery may be necessary. Surgery will normally only be considered after 3-6 months of treatment without a positive effect.

What can you do if you suffer from shin splints??

You should avoid or reduce strain. Sore muscles need to rest. You could perhaps switch to an alternative form of exercise. You should stretch those sore muscles regularly. You can also:

  • Avoid/reduce standing or running on hard surfaces
  • Use stable shoes with good shock absorption
  • Use running shoes with good shock absorption and avoid running without shock absorption. Make sure you warm up well.
  • Use springy shoes
  • Run as little as possible on hard surfaces (asphalt, etc.)
  • Skip training if symptoms reoccur
  • Use tape for support

After many years of research into our Tri-Planar Points technology, we have developed a design which brings the ankle by up to 32% into a more neutral position. Align Footwear® insoles can also reduce pronation by up to 27%. Align Footwear® insoles also adjust the shin into a more neutral position by up to 40%. The positions of the ankle and shin are key to reducing fatigue, pronation and supination. By supporting the foot on the sides of the heel, Align Footwear® insoles allow you to retain full mobility in your tendons and muscles. This cannot be achieved only by placing a support under the foot, e.g. a compression pad or an “artificial” arch support.Align Footwear® insoles enhance movement, comfort and performance. They encourage better posture and body alignment in your kinetic chain and improve your health and well-being. When your body through the insoles is balanced and corrected into the natural position, the strain of every step you take will become more evenly distributed. Our insoles reduce destructive shock waves throughout your body every time your feet hit the ground. This means less pressure on the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.


  • Shin inflammation is due to overload and excessive exercising.
  • In the transition between muscle and bone, an irritation can develop, which causes pain and can prevent you from leading an active life.
  • If your feet and knees are misaligned or if you pronate or supinate, you are more likely to develop this condition.
  • Treatment is usually rest. Wear insoles to correct and align your body and feet.

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